Forum invites local people to help preserve Glengormley’s rich past

Maurice and Doreen Atkinson pictured with Kathy Wolff.
Maurice and Doreen Atkinson pictured with Kathy Wolff.

DO YOU remember Glengormley’s Skyline Station, when the town was billed as a shopper’s paradise, or when the traffic lights were installed because driving through the town was deemed “suicidal”?

A new shared history project is working towards building a comprehensive archive of material detailing how Glengormley looked in the past to how it is today.

The project run by the Community Relations Forum has amassed a wealth of information, but is on the look out for even more.

Project Co-ordinator Kathy Wolff explained: “Glengormley was once a very different place with clothes shops, record stores, the Electric Board and jewellers - it even had three home bakeries.

“It is very different to the Glengormley today of banks, estate agents and take-outs.”

She went on: “We have a huge amount of stuff. For example pictures from the old Whitewell Primary School in the early 1900s, which was in what is the Scout Hall now, to pictures of people enjoying Bellevue Gardens.

“In the 60s traffic lights were installed in the centre of Glengormley - Newtownabbey’s first set - because the junction at the Hightown and the Antrim roads was deemed “suicidal” and the town was said to have a terrible parking problem - so maybe not so much has changed.

“We also have pictures from inside the old police station when it was at the bottom of the Hightown Road and we are hoping the police will let us have a look around the current station on the Antrim Road before it closes for good.

“We are hoping to collate images and information about what Glengormley was like then to how it is now.

“For example there are a lot of stories about the Skyline Station, which was at the now derelict petrol station, just up from the Barron Hall. Apparently it had an incredible roof and we would love to get our hands on pictures of it and find out more about it.”

The group meets every Wednesday in the Barron Hall.

Maurice Atkinson is a keen historian and one of those who is involved in the project.

He said: “I enjoy reading and learning about all the stories around how the town developed.

“Everything has its own story and it is fascinating.

“But also this project helps to put all those stories together and keep them for future generations and hopefully they can get as much enjoyment from them as we do.”

To join up with the group, or for further information about the project, contact the Barron Hall on Tel: 028 9084 9314.